Classic pumpkin roll is easy to make

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We love our traditional dishes at Thanksgiving, don’t we?  But for people who love to cook, sometimes Thanksgiving can be a pretty boring meal.  Have you ever tried to eliminate that horrid green bean casserole, only to hear groans of disappointment when it’s not served?  Don’t try to jazz up the stuffing too much or there is sure to be someone disappointed on that one, too. But maybe you can sneak in this pumpkin roll, though, for a little twist on Thanksgiving dessert!

If you’ve never made any kind of cake roll before, don’t be afraid of it.  It’s so easy and you’ll have fun doing it. You bake the cake quickly in a sheet pan that is lined with parchment.  The cake is very thin and you tip it out easily onto a thin tea towel, sprinkled with powdered sugar.  The cake and towel are rolled up together and left to cool in that shape.   Making the filling is a snap and then you just spread it on the cake and roll it right up again.

Pumpkin Roll

slightly adapted from Libby’s


For the cake:

  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin filling

For the filling:

  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar (optional for decoration)


Preheat the oven to 375° F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with parchment or wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar. Be sure to put enough powdered sugar on the towel when rolling up the cake so it will not stick.


sprinkle a thin tea towel with powdered sugar so the cake doesn’t stick
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. (If using a dark-colored pan, begin checking for doneness at 11 minutes.) Immediately loosen cake on sides of pan and turn cake onto prepared towel. Because of the parchment paper, the cake should just fall right out. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.

roll up the cake and tea towel together


Beat cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

Serve this pumpkin roll with whipped cream and chopped nuts, if you like.

All photos by The Italian Dish

About The Italian Dish 29 Articles
My name is Elaine and I live in neighboring Okemos. My mother, Angela, was from Italy and I guess I just have that Italian gene in me — I love to feed people. I began this blog to teach people how to cook. It pains me that so many people do not cook for themselves and instead order carryout five nights a week. Cooking from scratch is much easier than most people think. It's healthier and cheaper. Cook along with me — I'll show you how. I love photography and, in a previous life, was a painter. My food photography enables me to really show you how to create things, step by step. I love the beauty of food and the creativity of the kitchen. Developing my own recipes is just another way to fill a canvas. I hope you enjoy what I love so much — cooking for people and the joy of the table.